Children and Youth in a Digital World

Our goal is to champion the access and privacy rights of Ontario’s children and youth by promoting their digital literacy and the expansion of their digital rights while holding institutions accountable for protecting the children and youth they serve.

Our work to further this goal includes:

Showing 10 of 53 results

Title Topics Type Date
Child, Youth and Family Services Act Addendum to the Manual for the Review and Approval of Prescribed Persons and Prescribed Entities Children and Youth in a Digital World Best Practices, Professional Guidelines Read moreExpand
IPC comments on Bill 188, the Supporting Children's Futures Act Children and Youth in a Digital World Advice and Submissions Read moreExpand

The IPC made recommendations to the Standing Committee on Social Policy in relation to proposed amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act. It is the IPC’s position that any changes related to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information must be transparent and matched by a proportionate level of robust privacy protection. 

Review of the Practices and Procedures of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services Inter-ministerial Data Integration Unit (2024) Children and Youth in a Digital World Read moreExpand
IPC Letter accompanying the Review of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services Inter-ministerial Data Integration Unit (2024) Children and Youth in a Digital World Read moreExpand
Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools (poster size) Children and Youth in a Digital World Posters Read moreExpand

The IPC wants your feedback! We’ve launched a draft Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools to help educators prepare young people to be safe and responsible digital citizens, and empower them to exercise their privacy and access rights.

Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools (printable) Children and Youth in a Digital World Read moreExpand

The IPC wants your feedback! We’ve launched a draft Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools to help educators prepare young people to be safe and responsible digital citizens, and empower them to exercise their privacy and access rights.

The public consultation period ends on Monday, April, 22, 2024.

Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools Children and Youth in a Digital World Read moreExpand

Ontario schools have an essential role in preparing young people to be safe and responsible digital citizens and empowering them to exercise their privacy and access rights.

The emergence of the internet, smartphones, cloud-based platforms, social media, and artificial intelligence have created many new risks in the digital landscape.

Recognizing this, the IPC has developed a Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools in consultation with educators, educational institutions, and youth and parent advocates.

The charter consists of twelve high-level commitments that codify current and emerging best practices, many of which are grounded in statutory requirements under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

They are intended to support students in the digital environment by:

  • promoting strong privacy protections in digital education tools and services used by schools
  • encouraging ongoing learning about privacy in the digital environment
  • empowering students to understand and exercise their privacy and access rights

While the charter commitments are voluntary, by officially agreeing to adopt the digital privacy charter, school boards across Ontario will demonstrate a strong, province-wide promise to protect our students' digital privacy, support accountability and transparency, and strengthen trust in Ontario’s schools.

Do you have questions about the charter? Are you a school board official who would like to be an early adopter of the charter at your school? Contact us at @email.

Additional resources:

FAQs

What is the Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools?

The Digital Privacy Charter for Ontario Schools outlines 12 voluntary commitments Ontario schools can adopt to enhance support for young people in the digital environment by:

  • promoting strong privacy protections in digital education tools and services used by schools
  • encouraging ongoing learning about privacy in the digital environment
  • empowering students to understand and exercise their privacy and access rights
Don’t privacy laws already protect children and youth and hold educational institutions accountable?

Don’t privacy laws already protect children and youth and hold educational institutions accountable?

Yes, privacy laws are in place in Ontario to protect children and youth and hold educational institutions accountable and the digital privacy charter is consistent with those laws and represents current and emerging best practices.

Who can adopt the digital charter and its commitments?

The charter and its commitments are intended primarily for Ontario schools and school boards, but can be adopted by any institution or organization that collects, uses, and discloses the personal information of children and youth.

How can I support the charter?

The collective voice of parents, teachers, and school board officials can powerfully shape policies and practices within Ontario’s schools. Expressing support for the digital privacy charter by communicating with local school board trustees, directors of education, supervisors, and principals ensures that the digital safety of our children and youth is at the forefront of educational strategies and policies.

Parents and guardians:

Your voice is vital! Start a conversation with your child’s teachers and school administrators about the importance of digital privacy to help create momentum for the charter. Engage in school meetings, discuss with other parents, and communicate your support for the charter.

Educators:

Advocate for the adoption of the charter at your school. Use it as a guideline for digital activities in the classroom. Connect with us for further insights on how to implement the charter and raise awareness about digital privacy among your students and colleagues.

School board officials:

Bring the charter for serious consideration at board meetings and policy review sessions. Analyzing and adopting the charter’s commitments could set a strong framework for digital privacy across your school board. Your endorsement and application of the charter can create a secure digital environment for students.

We want your feedback! Please send your questions and comments to @email. The public consultation period ends on Monday, April 22, 2024.

What is the role of the IPC?

The IPC oversees the province’s access and privacy laws, ensuring that public institutions, health care providers, and child service providers comply with the law regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information while maintaining its privacy and security. The IPC handles a variety of responsibilities including resolving access to information appeals and investigating privacy complaints.

Part of our mandate is to research and educate the public on privacy and access to information issues. Read about our strategic priorities and other activities in support of Children and Youth in a Digital World.

Where can I learn about youth digital privacy rights and how to and empower young people in the digital world?

Where can I learn about youth digital privacy rights and how to and empower young people in the digital world?

The IPC is building on important research and initiatives around the world.

Learn more:

 

Media Literacy Week: Protecting and empowering students in the digital age Children and Youth in a Digital World Read moreExpand

Guest blog by Commissioner Kosseim for MediaSmarts in recognition of Media Literacy Week

Young people today love going online. Whether it’s for educational purposes, social networking or gaming — there is always something new and exciting to see and do. With every click, they explore new horizons but also, inadvertently, navigate through a sea of potential digital threats.

The online world is fraught with fake content that looks real, creating confusion between what’s true and what’s false. Cybercriminals and cyberbullies use the internet in ways that can seriously harm others, and advertisers attempt by all means to attract attention and nudge buying behaviour.

Canada’s annual Media Literacy Week highlights how critical it is that we all know how to use and engage with digital media. Read more.

Submission for the July 2023 Proposed Regulatory Changes to Ontario Regulation 155/18 and 156/18. Children and Youth in a Digital World Advice and Submissions Read moreExpand

The IPC provided comments and recommendations to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services with respect to the summary of proposed regulatory changes to Ontario Regulation 155/18 and 156/18 posted on the Ontario Regulatory Registry on July 13, 2023. Within the submission, the IPC urges the Ministry to ensure that any amendments to expand collection, use or disclosure of sensitive personal information for the safety and well-being of children and youth are matched by a proportionate level of robust privacy protection.

IPC’s Back-to-School Lesson Plans: Helping kids learn about online privacy Children and Youth in a Digital World Read moreExpand

The digital landscape has become an inseparable part of children and youth's lives, offering boundless opportunities for learning, connecting, and having fun. However, amid this abundance of technology, young people don’t always see the far-reaching implications of their online activities on their privacy, both present and future.

Young people may not always be aware of risks like cybercrime, cyberbullying or even how companies can use ads that attempt to nudge their behaviour. As educators, parents, and regulators, it’s our job to teach children the necessary skills to stay safe online and empower them to navigate their digital environment in an informed manner.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the release of four new classroom-ready lesson plans to help educators teach students in grades two through eight about privacy rights, digital literacy, and online safety, just in time for back-to-school!

Prepared by MediaSmarts, in collaboration with the IPC, these free lesson plans include privacy-protective skills that every student needs to develop.  These include teaching kids how to identify and mitigate risks, make strategic choices to protect their privacy online, show empathy for others’ online reputation and respect others’ privacy rights.

They include:

Each lesson plan is based on the IPC’s Privacy Pursuit! activity booklet, filled with fun activities for learning about privacy. The lesson plans include student handouts you can print or complete as a fillable PDF.

In their general comment on the rights of the child in relation to the digital environment, the United Nations stressed the fundamental role privacy plays in protecting children’s online dignity and safety, while supporting their sense of agency, empowerment and growing autonomy. This universally-recognized statement reminds all of us how important it is to equip children with the problem-solving, critical thinking and digital literacy skills they need to stay safe online. These IPC lesson plans provide an empowering platform for active participation and discussion about why privacy is important and how to protect it in the digital world.

We want to hear from educators about their experiences in using the lesson plans and invite them to share their feedback by completing our short survey. It’s important to know how the lesson plans are being used, what areas worked well with students, and potential topics or areas for future development.

We also engaged the IPC’s Youth Advisory Council to ask for their feedback about how we can best reach out to teachers and young people to spread the word about these new lesson plans and the importance of protecting privacy rights. And we’re putting their great ideas into practice. Keep an eye on our Instagram account for updates, as well as upcoming initiatives for youth, tips about privacy and access, comic characters, and whiteboard videos that make learning fun and easy.

As part of our strategic focus on Children and Youth in a Digital World, we are working to champion the access and privacy rights of Ontario’s children and youth by promoting their digital literacy and the expansion of their digital rights. Over the past two years, we’ve continued to make considerable progress in this area. You can read more about our progress in our 2022 annual report.

Albert Einstein once said, “Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think.” Educators today play an essential role in teaching kids about privacy. These lesson plans are sure to spark active participation, foster lively discussions, and instill a profound understanding of why privacy matters and how to protect it online.

I am very excited about this initiative and immensely grateful to all those who helped make it happen — it’s an important step towards ensuring that children have the knowledge and tools they need to participate safely in the digital world.

Wishing all Ontario kids and teachers a wonderful new school year!

— Patricia

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